Thursday, November 5, 2009

Common English Bible

The Common English Bible is a new translation in the works that seeks to provide a new rendition of the Bible in English at a 7th grade reading level. It is meant to provide an option for those churches currently using the NRSV (11th grade reading level), but would rather have something more "plain spoken". The committee who is currently working on this project have four stated goals:
1 )Clarity of language, as in "plain speaking", 2)A reliable, genuine, and credible power to transform lives, 3) An emotional expectation to find the love of God, 4) A rational expectation to find the knowledge of God.
While being sponsored by mostly mainline Protestant churches, it does have a fair amount of Catholic participation as well. When completed, this new translation will also include the Deuterocanonical books.
The CEB translation team has just released its version of the Gospel according to Matthew. It is available here as a .pdf file.

One thing that immediately grabs your attention is the use of "the Human One" instead of "the Son of Man". While I laud their apparent desire for consistency, assuming that they will translate the same phrase in Daniel and Ezekiel as "the Human One", I don't think this is a good move overall. The term "Son of Man" has been a major part of theological and scriptural discourse for the past 2000 years. This is one area where my moderate position on the use of inclusive language begins to make me fell a bit uncomfortable.
Of course, I am somewhat uncomfortable with labeling any translation "good" or "bad", and certainly not one that hasn't even been fully published. I think it is great that the CEB team has released a portion of their new Bible, so that we can look over it and point out things we like and dislike about it. I look forward to any future releases they decide to provide, particularly in regards to Paul's letters.

1 comment:

cranky said...

Human one='s smart folks with a truly dumb idea.